travelling in cold weather - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 11-01-2014, 03:14 PM   #1
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travelling in cold weather

We have a 2012 Infinity 3640 and take it south for the winter. This year we are not able to leave as early as usual and will have to travel after it gets cold and the snow begins to fly. I have winterized the trailer and do not plan to dewinterize it until I get to warmer temps. One question I have is if I can run the furnace while travelling (moving down the highway) so that food and liquids do not freeze in the trailer or baggage area. There seems to be some campgrounds open in the winter so we will be able to plug in to use the furnace at night (or use the gen if staying at a truck stop etc.) Anybody have any experience or advice?
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Old 11-01-2014, 05:53 PM   #2
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Depends on the furnace unit. I have done it with my Suburban furnaces, but have never tried with an Atwood. At worst I would think you could stop every couple of hours and warm the trailer up and it would hold enough residual heat until the next stop. Plus if the fridge is not running it might keep things warm, seeing how it is insulated. FWIW I use coolers for hot or cold. We have a thermal disc that you warm in the microwave it is made for keeping pets warm, but ours does double duty.

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Old 11-02-2014, 02:51 AM   #3
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Depends on the furnace unit. I have done it with my Suburban furnaces, but have never tried with an Atwood. At worst I would think you could stop every couple of hours and warm the trailer up and it would hold enough residual heat until the next stop. Plus if the fridge is not running it might keep things warm, seeing how it is insulated. FWIW I use coolers for hot or cold. We have a thermal disc that you warm in the microwave it is made for keeping pets warm, but ours does double duty.

Aaron
Some good suggestions. Thanks.
Am I right to assume that the truck would keep the batteries charged while using the furnace on the road? My truck has two alternators so you would think they could keep the batteries charged.
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Old 11-02-2014, 08:53 AM   #4
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Unless you have high amperage connection on the truck to trailer plug, I do not believe your truck will keep up with the power demand of running a furnace. I have considered using heavy cables with a snow plow style plug to connect the camper batteries direct to the truck batteries for this purpose, but then I went with 400 watts of solar instead
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Old 11-02-2014, 09:28 AM   #5
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Janeric,

As you can see, I too have an Infinity. I also, travel South. I'm in Maine and travel to Florida at the end of November. I've also, left at the end of December in the past.
Like you, we'll keep the antifreeze in it until we get to warmer temps in the South. I charge with tap water at a Pilot or Flying J along the way. We carry gallons of water with us to wash and flush the toilet in the colder temps.
We keep our furnace running during our travel. Also, we run the fridge on LP.
We do not try to locate CG's at this time of the year. Truck stops are quicker in and out.
We do not have a generator. I installed a 5000 watt inverter with two additional rv/marine batteries. This allows us to use the microwave, toaster, and most importantly our coffee maker. We don't do any dry camping except for traveling South and bringing the rig back in the Spring.
Yes, your truck alternator will charge your rv battery while traveling. We found this out first hand while traveling the first time without the inverter.
Safe travels!
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:01 AM   #6
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Good to know! I really didn't thing the TV would handle that load, but good info!
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:41 AM   #7
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Good to know! I really didn't thing the TV would handle that load, but good info!
Don,

Honestly, I thought the same thing until I found out by accident.

Allow me to explain how I found out. I headed to Florida in December and had not installed our extra battery banks or inverter. It takes us two nights to get to our destination. On our first leg we stopped at a Walmart. Truck stops were filled up by the time we were stopping.
I slid my electric (Schwintek) bedroom slide out to give us room. Also, ran our furnace through the evening. Next morning, couldn't slide the bedroom slide in. Luckily, I keep a 12v power jump with me. Brought the slide in and headed South. We traveled for 11 hours before we turned in on the second night. I was able to operate the electric slide with no issue. We ran the furnace briefly to warm it up. Next morning the electric slide operated without the help of my power jump.
I have no idea how the TV charges the trailer system .........just know it does .
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Old 11-02-2014, 11:26 AM   #8
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The furnace is pretty low draw ~3 amps IIRC. (have to read the tag) The truck does charge the batteries if it is set up correctly, charges between 4-10 amps on a typical installation. The furnace typically does not run constantly, so it won't draw the battery down in a hurry, especially if the truck is running. At worst it will take a long time to pull the battery down at best it won't even bother the battery because of the incoming charge.

I used to boondock on a single group 24 battery and could get through 24 hours using the furnace before I had a problem. Might have been dumb luck. I was more prone to run out of LP first.

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Old 11-02-2014, 11:48 AM   #9
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We can run the furnace through the night off the trailer's single battery. The battery's pretty low if the furnace runs throughout the night.

At least with our F250, the 12 V power feed/charge from the truck to the trailer battery only happens when the truck is running. When the truck is not running, there is no voltage supply. I assume this is for two reasons; not to drain the truck batteries, and not to back feed power to the truck when the RV is plugged in.

So, if after running off the batteries at night, if you need more power in the AM, try starting your tuck with it connected.
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Old 11-02-2014, 03:14 PM   #10
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At least with our F250, the 12 V power feed/charge from the truck to the trailer battery only happens when the truck is running. When the truck is not running, there is no voltage supply. I assume this is for two reasons; not to drain the truck batteries, and not to back feed power to the truck when the RV is plugged in.
Correct! That's exactly the way it's supposed to be, and why it is so. The furnace doesn't use 12 volts as a heat source, it burns propane. The only thing the 12 volts is needed for is control circuitry and the fan. The fan is the most significant draw, and in most cases, would probably be fed adequately by the charge coming in from a hooked up, running TV.
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